Petřín Hill

As I told you in an older blog post about bank holidays, the 1st of May is the Labor Day but also the Love Day. The tradition is to lay some flowers nearby the statue of Karel Mácha, and to kiss your sweetheart under a cherry tree. The statue is situated on the Petřín Hill. This hill is a favorite place for the people of Prague to take a stroll because is offers many activities and places for discovering.

The Panoramic Tower

First of all, you cannot miss the little Eiffel tower replica, which overhangs the hill and is visible from many places in Prague. It was built in 1891 and enables you to have a 360° view of Prague.  This tower is original because of its double helix spiral staircase. That means you are going up, you cannot see people coming down.

Petrin tower and the Hungry Wall

At the bottom of the tower, there is a small cafeteria, a souvenir shop, a museum about Jára Cimrman (a famous fictive character, very popular for Czech people), and a mirror labyrinth which is very funny for people of all ages.

You can access the tower by foot, with sloping ways, or by the funicular. It start at the bottom of the hill, nearby Ujzed tramway station (line 6,9,12,20,22,23) and stop at two floors: The restaurant and the top of the hill.

The ascent of the hill by the funicular

Tip: Take advantage of a sunny day that is not too windy in order to the enjoy the tower the best.

Trick: Although the tower is a 68m building, it is on a hill so the top of the tower is at 324m of altitude, ike the Paris’ Eiffel Tower.

At the top of the tower, 360° view of Prague

Stefanik observatory

The observatory of Petřín Hill was totally built and opened to the public in 1930. The name comes from a Slovak astronomer, pilot and general: Milan Rotislav Stefanik. Stefanik was also co-founder of the first republic of Czechoslovakia.

The main part of the building is the principal cupola which offers a big and powerful refracting telescope with a diameter of 400mm. we can observe the sun, the moon and also planets. The observatory is open from Tuesday to Friday (2p.m.-11p.m.) and on the weekend (11a.m.-11p.m.)

The observatory and a cherry tree

You could improve your knowledge by visiting the museum during different exhibitions on spatial conquest.

Petřín garden

Of course, you can also walk in the garden. There is a some woods nearby, and nice pathways, places to picnic, relax, play, and a rose garden of 6 hectares nearby other flower gardens.

A big garden to walk, play, picnic or rest

I mentioned in the blog post about bank holiday calendar that you can find statue of Karel Mácha in the garden. He was born not far of the hill, and his statue is the symbol of eternal youth. The 1st of May, the tradition is to go to this place with your sweetheart and lay a kiss on them under a cherry tree, then let some flowers nearby the statue.

Karel Macha

If you go for a walk you will probably stumble upon the Hungry Wall. It is sometimes called ‘toothed wall’ or ‘wall of the bread.’ It is a fortification erected by Charles IV between 1360 and 1362 in order to protect the Castle and Malá Strana against attacks from the south and the west. Formerly, the wall was 4m tall and 1,80m depth. There was crenels, arrow slits, and several watch towers.

The Hungry Wall

It kept this name in reference to the famine which hurt the Prague population in 1361. Much of the poorer population helped with the building of this wall to forget the famine.  The legend relates that the construction had the goal to help poorest people but it was just a strategic reason for Charles IV.

30th of April, on the evening

The day before 1st of May, it is wizards Day, called also “Walpurgis”. Everywhere in Czech Republic, people light big blazes and children disguise themselves as wizards. On the Petřín hill, you could attend the biggest blaze of Prague.

The night of Walpurgis got its name from Saint Walpurge, who is a Christian saint from Great Britain. Originally, Germans celebrate the resurgence of the wild, end of winter and honors gods of spring.  However, the Church didn’t have any of it, and wanted to change these gods in devils and wizards and therefore the Wizards Day was born.

My impressions

It is so pleasant to walk on the Petřín hill, in the park, and the rose garden. When you find yourself free on a nice spring or summer day, go to the top of the tower, admire the view, picnic on the grass, play Frisbee or simply take an afternoon nap. Take advantage of this bank holiday to get away from car klaxons for some hours.

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